THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike
Aaron and Marta run for their lives. leading man a “movie athlete.” Gilroy says: “Jeremy came to us at a really high learning curve. When they took him out to the track the first time, the reports were: ‘Oh my God. Wow. He can do this and this…and this…and this. We don’t have to double this!’ Jeremy’s so good that he actually was at the level where the insurance company got nervous.” “Jeremy is an actor of such intensity and intelligence,” adds Smith. “We’ve seen in his performances that he comes out of the screen, grabs you by the throat and takes you on an incredible journey.” After his Academy Award ®-nominated roles in both The Hurt Locker and The Town, Renner went on to make his mark as an action hero in the blockbuster Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol and this summer’s global juggernaut The Avengers. He says that he was a fan of the Bourne series and of one man’s performance in particular: “What Matt Damon did, and what the previous directors have done, was great. For those who love the franchise, I’m not replacing Matt, nor would I want to. It would never have been interesting if I was taking over and playing the same character. Matt is always the face of Jason Bourne and always should be. I liked this script because it was a very interesting way of continuing the story while honoring what came before.” – 24 – The performer elaborates on Gilroy’s underlying premise that, although Cross travels in a world that is parallel to Bourne’s, Cross is not aware of Bourne. Renner reflects: “They don’t know each other, so this has a whole new spin on why these supersoldier spies are the way they are now. I hope I can bring a fresh perspective to it.” Renner goes on to share that The Bourne Legacy retains the realistic tone of the earlier films. “It doesn’t veer into the CGI world or massive explosions,” he says. “It stays authentic. It was important for me to want to find humanity within this character.” He found his filmmakers were just as interested in these concepts. “What matters is that there is believability in everything we do in the film. No matter what the stunt is or the setup, it’s all based in reality, truth and the potential of science. As an actor, that’s easy to grab onto.” Unlike Bourne, Cross is well aware of who he is and where he came from: a soldier wounded in the Middle East several years ago. Once he escapes from the Yukon, Cross journeys back to the U.S. in order to find one of his few contacts in Outcome, and the only person who can help him stay alive, Dr. Marta Shearing. Says Crowley about an issue that has perplexed the team since the beginning of the first film: One of the biggest challenges we’ve had is how to deal with a leading lady in the movie. With the pace and intensity of the films, it’s difficult to take the time to properly develop a relationship, plus getting hooked up with Jason Bourne is usually the kiss of death. Because we have a fresh start, we can introduce a woman into the story without it feeling contrived.” The role of Marta required not only a talented actress, but also one who would be willing to take on the special demands that the part required. Explains Gilroy: “Marta is an accomplished research scientist with some real
emotional chaos in her private life. She’s been ignoring some pretty heavy moral contradictions in her work for Outcome, and when things explode she’s launched into about as hardcore an odyssey as any character I’ve ever written. And by the end of the film she’s not just surviving, she’s kicking ass. It’s a demanding role.” Much to the filmmakers’ delight, Academy Award ® winner Rachel Weisz, known for her powerful performances in such films as The Constant Gardener, The Lovely Bones and The Whistleblower, was eager for the challenges that lie ahead and the results were more than they had hoped for. Gilroy recalls: “The bar for credibility is very high in this franchise, and she gave us more than we ever dreamed of. I knew how good she was, but I was still astonished by what she brought to the film. She pretty much surpassed my expectations every day.” Marta is a workaholic, utterly devoted to her groundbreaking research as a biochemist at a top-secret lab in Maryland. Reflects Weisz: “She’s at the cutting edge of science, and she thinks she’s contributing to her country. But at the same time, she does secretly know that what she’s doing has great moral ambiguity to it.” Marta’s choice to ignore the potential consequences of her trials on patients intrigued the actress. “I would be less interested in her if she were just doing something good and saving the world. What she’s doing is a little dubious.” Marta’s mundane life is turned upside down and she becomes a target when Outcome is rapidly shut down and she is perceived as simply residual cleanup. Aaron—a man whom she has examined multiple times in four years but doesn’t know well—appears in time to save her, and the two quickly form a relationship out of necessity. “Marta is hesitant to go with him, but she doesn’t have any other alternative,” Weisz explains. “The people who represent law and order in her country just tried to kill her. She is a – 25 – regular woman who happens to be good at science, but not good at evading the police authorities of the globe.” Weisz was intrigued by the backstories that the Gilroys had created for these two characters. “They’re incredibly driven in very different ways,” adds Weisz. “Marta and Aaron come from completely different back grounds, and they end up relying on one another for dif fer ent reasons. That’s a really fascinating way to create a story.” While filming in New York and in Southeast Asia, Weisz discovered that she and Renner had similar approaches to their work. “We’re very different people, and we come from different backgrounds but we have a similar way of working,” the actress observes. “Jeremy’s very free and loose and pretty wild, and wonderful to work with. I’ve loved every minute opposite him.” Weisz also sees a bit of a rebel in her director: “Tony has a very rock ’n’ roll spirit, which is ‘Let’s find chaos and abandon, and let’s go,’ which is great for acting. He’s an unusual combination in a writer/director, and I’m happy to be in his band.” To play the role of ret. Col. Ric Byer, the ruthless head of NRAG—the organization behind the secret program of agents that began with Treadstone, evolved into Blackbriar, and now operates Outcome, among Byer lectures Cross on the agent’s duty.